In today’s connected world, cellular service is often more ubiquitous than the power needed to charge the phones. A few years ago, a post here at Make pointed me to a story about the creation of a simple hydroelectric generator to help residents of small village in Guatemala charge their phones so that they could sell the coffee they were growing collectively as a community.
Now, Kyle Bassett, a PhD candidate at the University of Windsor in Canada, is developing a compact and portable 3D printed wind turbine that can charge cell phones and other 5-Volt devices. Each turbine can be printed in a matter of hours, shipped in a 4″ diameter by 40″ long tube, and installed in about 2 minutes.
Bassett has founded a small company, RMRD Tech, to bring together other like-minded engineers to help improve his design and develop related technologies. Basset has said that he will release the full designs for his wind turbine under an open source license. The hope is that by using an open source license and low-cost equipment like desktop 3D printers, this design can quickly be deployed to communities in need around the world.